Lame Deer family seeks closure one year after body was found in Stillwater River

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 13:10:57-04

LAME DEER — It’s been one year since the body of Lame Deer resident Deanna Limberhand was found in the Stillwater River near Absarokee, and the family still has no answers about what happened to her.

“It’s been one long, hard year for all of us,” said Deanna’s mother, Darlene Limberhand, on Wednesday.

Limberhand has been dreaming of justice for her daughter since the day she vanished.

“I talked to her the day before and she just told me I’m coming home to take care of my baby. And that was it, she was gone,” Limberhand said.

Deanna disappeared after traveling to Absarokee. Her family says her body was found hog-tied in the Stillwater River. Though Deanna’s cause of death is listed as drowning, the family believes there’s much more to the case.

“She was badly beaten,” said Limberhand.

Friends and family rallied outside the Stillwater County courthouse back in March on what would have been Deanna’s 40th birthday. They’re frustrated that an autopsy report has never been released.

“Sovereign Bodies came with us to see if they could get a statement or any kind of reports or anything but because it’s still under investigation, we haven’t been able to get anything,” said Deanna’s aunt, Rynalea Whiteman Pena.

Few leads have surfaced in the months since.

MTN News reached out to the Stillwater County Sheriff’s office Wednesday and received this statement:

“It is still open and classified as a suspicious death primarily because there were no witnesses that saw her go into the river. There is no new information at this time.”

The family is frustrated, not only with a lack of answers but with what they say is a lack of communication.

“I wish they would inform us or just give us a call and say we’re still working on this case, or just let us know what’s going on,” said Limberhand.

For now, all the family can do is hope for answers while they remember Deanna. They held a memorial Wednesday afternoon, not just for her, but for the hundreds of other missing and murdered indigenous people.

“The MMIW and MMIP is getting to be quite larger than it’s originally been. More missing and more murdered,” said Pena.

Limberhand hopes this memorial will help give the family a sense of closure.

“Having this memorial for today, I think that would be really good for us just because, like I said, we want closure” said Limberhand.

Until her murderer is found, that may be difficult to find. They just want someone to come forward with answers.

“Or even knowing who she might have been with, any information to bring closure to the family,” Pena said.